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Spring is a time of growth, renewal and fresh starts. Just as our gardens will need tending, so will our bodies. Emerging from winter’s slower, more sedentary season, spring is the ideal time to undertake a cleansing or “detoxification” program.
As part of a health maintenance program, there are benefits to giving your body seasonal service – just as you would service your car after struggling through winter weather. This not only wards off illness, but also rejuvenates your organs and your tissues. Detoxification, the traditional naturopathic concept of cleansing our bodies of waste and toxins to improve our systems’ functioning and energy production, can give you back that spring in your step and energy to spare. For more than 100 years, naturopathic medicine has identified a host of diseases that are treated by employing a detoxification process.
Many different types of cleanses exist, ranging from minor to major. A weekend detox can consist of simple elements such as eating only raw, “live” foods, resting, bathing and journaling or meditation. A major cleanse is usually designed by a professional and can last for weeks, incorporating personalized elements for your individual condition and desired outcome. Let’s take a closer look at the process of detoxification and what a cleanse looks like.
WHAT IS DETOXIFICATION?
Detoxification is the process of releasing accumulated toxins and waste products that build up throughout our system. The words “detox” and “cleanse” are often used interchangeably with detoxification.
Detoxification occurs within our bodies on a natural and continuous basis. If we could avoid insomnia, inadequate diets, and environmental toxins (such as food additives, solvents, pesticides, herbicides), our bodies would continue to take care of this elimination on their own. Imbalanced, emotional reactions to stress can also overload our system with excess chemicals such as free radicals, homocysteine (associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease), and cortisol. Toxins that the body is unable to eliminate will build up in bodily tissues, typically in our fat stores.
Detoxifying, or “cleansing”, becomes necessary when this natural process becomes overwhelmed and stops working efficiently. This can happen if our diet and exercise regime slips, when we get ill, when we take prescription medications for extended periods, or from natural causes such as a weakened immune system due to age.
Regular nocturnal habits are important as the majority of detoxification takes place at night when your body is not preoccupied with daily functions such as digestion or locomotion. Eating late at night can throw off the detoxification process because the digestion process has to begin all over again. Getting the proper amount of rest and “down time” is essential to eliminate toxins and waste products from your body.
AM I TOXIC?
The following symptoms can indicate your body’s need for a cleanse:
~ Score 1 for every Yes and 0 for every No. ~
A score of 4 or higher may indicate that you could
benefit from a cleansing detox program.
The answer to this question depends on what type of detoxification process you choose, or is chosen for you by a professional. Some of the longer detoxification programs are designed to let you get on with your life at work, with friends, traveling, etc., while you detox and might even incorporate some new recipes for you to try.
A General Weekend Detox
A weekend detox can last from Friday night to Sunday night and is usually undertaken when you have a weekend to devote to slowing down, eating right, resting and bathing. This type of program is meant to help you mentally de-stress as well and gives you time to be on your own away from the hustle and bustle of life. This type of cleanse is especially mild. Plan, plan, plan for this type of cleanse. These three days should be as uninterrupted as possible.
What Does A General Weekend Detox Look Like?
Vinegar removes scaly build-up and residue from hair shafts and closes the cuticles. Since residue coats the hair causing it to look dull, removing residue gives your hair more shine.
Vinegar has a tonic action that promotes blood circulation in the small capillaries that irrigate the skin. Vinegar also restores natural pH and helps prevent an itchy scalp.
You can use this rinse once or twice a week, depending on the type of products you use on your hair, to maintain a clean scalp.
Herb & Vinegar Hair Rinse
*Try a little of the mixture on the skin on your neck before using it as a rinse. If you see a rash come up, or it begins to itch, do not use the rinse.
Generic diets for detoxification are good, but may not stimulate the liver, lungs or the kidneys as much as one would like. Therefore, herbal cleanses are indicated when we want to hone a cleanse and have it be more organ-specific. Of course, herbs are foods too and provide one with vitamins, minerals and enzymes for excellent nutrition. Herbs are powerful, because they may be combined together to fortify those herbs that aid specific organs. For example, herbal combinations that aid the liver may be found in many organic food stores. The list below shows how herbal combinations help the various organs.
LIV-A Dandelion, red beet, liverwort, parsley, horsetail, birch leaves, chamomile, blessed thistle, black cohosh, angelica, gentian, goldenrod.
Uva ursi, parsley, dandelion, juniper berries JP-X Parsley, uva ursi, marshmallow, ginger, goldenseal, dong quai, cedar berries.
LH Comfrey, marshmallow, mullein, slippery elm, senega, Chinese ephedra.
While herbs may be taken at any time, they are best for detoxification purposes when combined with a good diet. It doesn’t make much sense to take herbs to cleanse the liver if the bowels are clogged with junk or refined foods, as the liver dumps its toxins into the bowels. And while detoxification diets are effective by themselves, they may be reinforced, and work faster, with herbs which stimulate the eliminative organs.
Herbs can be consumed as teas, powders or extracts. Powders are usually encapsulated for easier swallowing, but are best when taken with meals and digestive enzymes.
Extracts may be used when specific herbs are needed, but may be extracted with alcohol, which should be avoided.
Herbal teas are easily made and easily taken all throughout the day. Make sure it is an herbal tea and not just tisane (made from anything other than the leaves of the tea bush). They are mild and gentle; sometimes refreshing and sometimes bitter. Try a few different types of herbal teas before you make up your mind as not all teas are to everyone’s liking. Herbal tea is a topic in itself since there are so many and such varied ways to make them. 2
SPECIFIC CLEANSES FOR SPECIFIC CAUSES
In addition to a general cleanse, there can be specific reasons to undertake a cleanse such as parasites, candidiasis, and heavy metals intoxication. These conditions are usually diagnosed by a health care professional.
Heavy Metal Cleanse is a two part formula which works to facilitate the removal of heavy metals from the body. It does this through a process know as chelation.
Chelation comes from the Greek word 'to claw' which basically means 'to grab hold of'. When heavy metals are chelated, they are ‘grabbed’ from tissues and organs and are then available to be removed from the body through its normal channels of elimination. Heavy Metal Cleanse includes ingredients that have been shown to chelate aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and nickel.
Heavy Metal Cleanse can be used by anyone who is concerned about heavy metal build up in the body. In today's society this can include every Canadian, as these heavy metals are contained in our food, air and water, which are consumed on a daily basis.
It is vital for those who have been exposed to large amounts of environments toxins such as smokers, those exposed to 2nd hand smoke on a regular basis, and those working in chemical plants or mines.
A natural, 2-part formula of herbs traditionally used to support a healthy balance of intestinal organisms and the detoxification of candida.
Formulated to be taken in harmony with normal daily activity.
Recent findings of parasitologists and medical doctors indicate that at least 25% of all Americans are infected with parasites and 37% have candida yeast overgrowth.
Carol Roy is a Natural Health Practitioner, registered with Natural Health Practitioners Canada, who received her diploma from the Alternative Medicine College of Canada in Montreal, Quebec. With 9 years experience in her area of expertise, naturopathic medicine, Carol has also trained to become a fully qualified Reiki Master, Quantum Touch ® Practitioner and Reflexologist.
are recommendations only and not a substitute for any medical advice or a
replacement for any prescriptions. Seek medical advice for any health concerns.
Consult your health care provider before using any recommendations herein.
Further Reading Suggestions
1. Review of the Grape Cure
1. Chagrin Valley Soap Company
2. Herbal Detox: Different Ways to Detoxify Your Body